These Cruises for World War II Buffs Combine Travel With History Lessons

Viking Longship Rolf, Viking River Cruises
Photo: Courtesy of Viking Cruises

The upcoming 75th Anniversary of D-Day has brought renewed interest to the historic event, when more than 160,000 Allied troops landed on the French coastline to fight Nazi Germany. Supported by more than 5,000 ships and 13,000 aircraft, the Allies gained a foothold despite huge casualties. While it took nearly another year to overcome Adolph Hitler’s troops, D-Day began the arduous process of defeating the enemy. Travelers can educate themselves about D-Day by visiting the cities and towns that were occupied by Nazis during the war, and by seeing firsthand the places where the invasion was planned. Paris, Prague, Berlin, London, China, Japan and more are all exciting but different destinations today — perhaps because of the events of 75 years ago. Visiting these places with the added insight of historians and military experts can provide once-in-a-lifetime experiences, as well as memorable vacations. River cruises on Europe’s narrow waterways allow guests to understand the landscape of the countries as they pass, and shore excursions with expert guides bring history to life. The Pacific Islands, Balkans, Greece, and even Australia are all home to places that were significant in World War II. As you make this year’s travel plans, why not consider one of these luxurious cruises that come with tempting cuisine, fascinating sights, and gorgeous destinations along with history lessons that are a lot more interesting than you remember from school.

01 of 08

East Meets West: The Link-up on the Elbe

Elbe Princess, CroisiEurope
Courtesy of CroisiEurope

With two distinguished historians, this journey along the Elbe begins in Berlin, with stops in Dresden, Wittenberg, Torgau, Prague, and other significant World War II locations. Optional pre-and post-cruise extensions are available for in-depth exploration of Berlin and Prague. The Elbe Princess, CroisiEurope Cruises, April 11-19, 2019.

02 of 08

Paris and D-Day 75th Anniversary

Viking Longship Rolf, Viking River Cruises
Courtesy of Viking Cruises

Beginning in London, the tour explores the city’s role in planning the D-Day invasion and continues to Portsmouth, Paris, and Normandy with a full day tour featuring Omaha Beach, the American Military Cemetery and D-Day Museum. Viking Longship Rolf, Viking River Cruises May 29-June 9.

03 of 08

Seabourn: The 75th Anniversary of D-Day: An Iconic Journey of Remembrance

Ovation Seabourn
Courtesy of Seabourn Cruise Line

Guests will follow the path of Germany’s conquest of Western Europe, including Rotterdam, Bruges, Ghent, Dunkirk, and Calais. The cruise, chartered by the World War II Museum, will culminate at Normandy Beaches with a ceremony at Normandy American Cemetery and then sail across the English Channel to Dover. Ovation, Seabourn, May 29-June 7, 2019.

04 of 08

Regent: The 75th Anniversary of D-Day: An Iconic Journey of Remembrance

Monument World War II, Omaha Beach, Normandy, Seven Seas Navigator
Dennis K. Johnson/Getty Images

Sailing down the North Sea and English Channel coast from Amsterdam to Normandy, stops will include Rotterdam, Bruges, Ghent, Dunkirk, Dieppe, and Calais, culminating in Normandy and ending with an overnight sailing across the English Channel to Southampton. Seven Seas Navigator, chartered by the World War II Museum, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, May 30-June 8, 2019.

05 of 08

Paris to Normandy: 75th Anniversary of D-Day - WWII Remembrance & History

Tapestry II, Avalon Waterways
Courtesy of Avalon Waterways

Beginning in Paris, the cruise along the Seine with onboard lectures stops at Normandy with an option of attending a ceremony commemorating the 75th anniversary of D-Day. The cruise concludes in Paris with an optional WWII theme tour and museum visit. Tapestry II, Avalon Waterways, June 4-11, 2019.

06 of 08

Philosophy and War: World War II in the Balkans

Sea Cloud, National WWII Museum
Courtesy of The National WWII Museum

This land and cruise tour begins in Athens and continues to Crete, Corfu, and Albania. The cruise culminates in Dubrovnik, with an option extension. Onboard commentary will be provided by Robert M. Citino, an award-winning military historian and scholar. Sea Cloud, Chartered by National WWII Museum, September 22-October 2, 2019.

07 of 08

In the Wake of General MacArthur: The Legacy of World War II

Atomic Bomb Memorial Dome, Hiroshima, Japan, Le Laperouse, Ponant
Navapon_Plodprong/Getty Images

Departing from Hong Kong, the cruise continues to Taiwan to visit the National Palace Museum in Taipei, and on to Japan with stops in Okinawa, the Peace Memorial in Hiroshima, and more. Then on to Osaka following General MacArthur’s journey to accept Japan’s surrender in 1945. Le Laperouse, Ponant Quintessential Collection, September 27-October 10, 2019.

08 of 08

Normandy and the Seine River: From the D-Day Beaches to the Liberation of Paris

SS Joie de Vivre, Uniworld
Courtesy of Uniworld River Cruises

Featuring lectures by internationally recognized historians and expert local guides, this land tour and river cruise begins in Paris and includes a tour of Versailles and optional days in Paris. SS Joie de Vivre, Uniworld, October 13-21, 2019.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles